Days after three children and three adults were fatally shot at a small Christian school in Nashville, a heated discussion over gun control between Representative Jamaal Bowman, Democrat of New York, and Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, turned into a shouting match in a hallway outside the House chamber.
Bowman, a former middle school principal, was telling reporters that Republicans were “gutless” for not backing gun control laws after this week’s shooting.
Standing in the hallway, Bowman accused Republicans of being “cowards” and said voters should force them “to respond to the question” of how to “save America’s children” from shootings. “And let them explain that all the way up to Election Day in 2024,” he said.
Massie,who was walking by, then stopped to ask: “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about gun violence,’’ Bowman said.
Massie, who once tweeted a holiday photo of his family holding guns, then told Bowman, “You know, there’s never been a school shooting in a school that allows teachers to carry.”
“Carry guns? More guns lead to more death,” Bowman replied, raising his volume. “Look at the data; you’re not looking at any data.” Bowman then repeatedly told Massie that states that have open-carry laws have more deaths. When Massie told Bowman to calm down, the second-term congressman yelled, “Calm down? Children are dying!”
The Washington Post could not immediately verify the lawmakers’ claims.
The verbal brawl between Bowman and Massie comes amid national disagreement over how to reduce school shootings, as the nation mourns the deaths of 9-year-olds Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus, and William Kinney from the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School. Katherine Koonce, Mike Hill, and Cynthia Peak were the three adults who were killed.
US lawmakers have suggested that a legislative fix for school shootings isn’t coming anytime soon.
Democrats have proposed a bill to boost research aimed at finding out the causes of gun violence, while Republicans have expressed reluctance to support more firearm restrictions. President Biden called on Congress on Tuesday to pass tighter regulations, including an assault weapons ban. “I have gone the full extent of my executive authority, on my own,” Biden said, adding: “I can’t do anything except plead with Congress to act.”
Arizona Democrats sue to block third party
The Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit Thursday against the state’s top election administrator and No Labels, seeking to reverse the moderate group’s recognition as a political party for the 2024 elections, according to Democratic officials.
The lawsuit, in state court in Phoenix, reflects growing concern in Democratic circles that a No Labels third-party ticket in 2024 will jeopardize the reelection hopes of President Biden and make it harder for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate.
The lawsuit claims that Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, who is a Democrat, made an error in accepting signature petitions for the No Labels Party, because accompanying affidavits from proposed electors were signed before all the petitions were gathered, in violation of state statute. As a result, the Arizona Democratic Party claims the affidavits purporting to verify the petitions should be considered false and the petitions invalid.
The lawsuit also argues that No Labels, which is organized as a social welfare nonprofit that is not required to disclose its donors, has failed to comply with the federal requirements of a political party, including donation limits and donor disclosure.
“No Labels is not following the rules for political party recognition, while attempting to be placed on the ballot alongside actual, functioning political parties who do,” said Morgan Dick, spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party. “Arizonans deserve better and voters deserve to know who is behind this shadowy organization and what potentially nefarious agenda they are pushing.”
Ryan Clancy, the chief strategist for No Labels, dismissed the lawsuit as a political move.
“This undemocratic and unscrupulous lawsuit is a disgrace,” he said in a statement. “Next time you hear this crowd talking about protecting democracy, remember what they are really doing is protecting their turf.”
David Rosenbaum, an attorney for No Labels in Phoenix, said in a statement that he was confident the court will uphold the decision by Fontes.
“The professional staff in the secretary of state’s office already thoroughly reviewed No Labels’ filing and certified it,” he said.
The civil suit comes as No Labels is seeking state ballot access across the country to prepare for a potential “black swan” moment, when enough Americans are dissatisfied with the major-party nominees to open a lane for a third-party candidate to win the White House. A video from the group published Tuesday by the New Republic described the presidential campaign effort as “an insurance policy for America’s future.” The group has already qualified for the ballots in Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, and Colorado.
The video asserts that a third-party bid in 2024 could win at least 23 states and 279 electoral votes, enough to take the White House. Even if the ballot lines are not used for third-party candidates, the No Labels video argues that the third-party effort could win “a commitment for our agenda for one of our major-party candidates, paving the way for a true common-sense bipartisan approach.”
Founded in 2010 as a political organization focused on finding bipartisan and centrist solutions to the nation’s problems, the group has worked on both policy and elections, raising money for both Republican and Democratic candidates. The group helped to found the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the US House.
—Fetterman’s wife responds to ‘vicious attacks’
In a new op-ed in Elle, Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Senator John Fetterman, Democrat of Pennsylvania, responds to “vicious attacks” she received after her husband checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to seek treatment for clinical depression.
“To hear my critics tell it, it’s my fault that John ran for Senate,” she wrote in the op-ed published Thursday. “It’s my fault that he won. It’s my fault that he had a stroke, and it’s my fault that he’s depressed. And somehow, at the same time, I’m just a wife who should stay at home and out of the public eye.”
She said she has found the attacks “really exhausting” despite trying to block them out.
“Some days I just feel drained and have to let it out in a good cry,” she wrote. “Even more, I worry about the millions of women who hear these attacks on TV and social media and then internalize these myths in their own lives.”
The Post’s Liz Goodwin reported Wednesday that the senator will return to Congress during the week of April 17, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about the lawmaker’s condition.
The 53-year-old checked himself into Walter Reed in February after he was evaluated by the attending physician of Congress, Brian P. Monahan, who suggested inpatient care for depression that had become “severe in recent weeks,” the senator’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement at the time.